Matthew Rials 2013
“Best part is that there is no equity that we owe. It is very upfront advice. The partner is trying to focus on helping us instead of focus on getting our return which seems very honest to me. All of the help has been really practical.”
Jeremy Keeshin 2011
“We came into the program with a strong background in engineering and finished with firsthand knowledge about all of the things that come with being a great entrepreneur.”
Patrick Briggs 2013
“I like best of the program is the fact that Lightspeed didn’t at all hold our hands the entire way. While they still gave us a lot of practical advice and they gave us all the tools that we needed to succeed.”
Mark Wittman 2012
“The Lightspeed program gives you time, space, money, and mentorship so your team can truly focus your customers and building something they'll find valuable.”
Charlie Vong 2013
“This program gives us a great opportunity to try out ideas for our new company with no strings attached and without giving up our company. Our mentor, John gave us great marketing resources. We learned so much about business which we don’t know before this program as we are engineering students.”
Giancarlo Daniele 2013
“"Sell before you build" is a startup advice that I often heard, but had never really followed. John Vrionis and LSVP partners pushed me to talk to customers and "sell" to them before writing a line of code, which turned out to be the most valuable startup advice I've ever gotten.”
Nick Punt 2007
“When I graduated and wanted to pursue an idea, no other program like this existed. The camaraderie between the companies and mentorship we got from Lightspeed were great. Go for it!”
Mudit Garg 2007
“The Lightspeed program demystified the Silicon Valley for me. Being an outsider, it gave me a chance to witness the valley's entrepreneurship culture first hand. It was a truly life-changing experience and my primary reason for starting a company after school.”
William Zhou 2013
“The Lightspeed Summer Fellowship not only provided valuable mentorship and actionable advice, but it also gave me insight into the VC world.”
William ZhouUniversity of Waterloo
Calvin Fernandez 2013
“I like the most about the fellow program was the 1-1 sessions that our team got with our mentor, John. Those are very valuable to us. We learned a lot. I absolutely will recommend this program to people who want to spend their summer working on their ideas. Great mentorship and an amazing environment.”
Deepak Rao 2010
“The Lightspeed program demystified Silicon Valley for me. Being an outsider, it gave me a chance to witness the valley’s entrepreneurship culture first hand. It was a truly life-changing experience and my primary reason for starting a company after school.”
Laza Upatising 2013
“If you are a self-motivated guy and really want to see something happen, this is definitely the best program out there.”
Are you an aspiring entrepreneur looking for the resources, guidance, and connections to get your venture off the ground? Lightspeed Venture Partners is offering summer fellowships to support entrepreneurship and innovation among highly motivated engineering and CS students.
Each selected team will receive $5,000 per team and $10,000 per team member, mentoring by one of Lightspeed’s investment professionals, as well as office space in Menlo Park, CA throughout the summer.
Think of it like a scholarship. We provide resources, mentors, and guidance; you pursue your venture free and unfettered. Fellows are under no obligation to Lightspeed, and Lightspeed receives no equity as part of the program.
Applications will be reviewed in two rounds: Round 1 applications are due January 31, 2014 and accepted fellows will be notified by February 21, 2014.
Round 2 applications are due March 16, 2014 and accepted fellows will be notified by April 11, 2014.
2014 will be our 8th year running the program, with an alumni class of over 175 fellows. We bring back previous year’s participants throughout the summer to provide mentorship.
Check out some of the companies our alumni have gone on to start:
We think that the Summer Fellowship Program is pretty cool, but don’t take our word for it. Here’s what previous fellows had to say about their experience:
“The Lightspeed summer program was a great introduction to entrepreneurship and building startups from the ground up. It is amazing that so much was accomplished in a short summer on Drive Pulse going from an idea to a product. John's excellent mentorship and being around talented entrepreneurs in a structured setting were instrumental in staying focused.”Poorna Krishnamoorthy
“I like best of the program is the fact that Lightspeed didn’t at all hold our hands the entire way. While they still gave us a lot of practical advice and they gave us all the tools that we needed to succeed. I will recommend this program to people who are very independent but also thrive in a community because getting to know other fellows has been invaluable. It has been a great experience.”Patrick Briggs
“Best part is that there is no equity that we owe. It is very upfront advice. The partner is trying to focus on helping us instead of focus on getting our return which seems very honest to me. All of the help has been really practical. They are bringing in people who have done this before and people who have been in our exact position in college and that feels really cool to me.”Matthew Rials
“The Lightspeed program gives you time, space, money, and mentorship so your team can truly focus on your customers and building something they'll find valuable.”Mark Wittman
“If you are a self-motivated guy and really want to see something happen, this is definitely the best program out there.”Laza Uptising
“The Lightspeed Program allowed us to spend an entire summer on our project that we wouldn't be able to otherwise bring to life. Our Lightspeed mentor met with us whenever we needed him and guided us through the various stages of building our startup. The weekly lectures with John helped us understand the critical details behind how a VC investor looks into investing in startups.”Kerem Alper
“Lightspeed really just want you to learn and experience entrepreneurship. They are not trying to get anything out of it.”John Backus
“Sell before you build" is startup advice that I had often heard, but had never really followed. John Vrionis & LSVP partners pushed me to talk to customers and "sell" to them before writing a line of code, which turned out to be the most valuable startup advice I've ever gotten (Drive Pulse launched after 60+ face-to-face meetings with Palo Alto parents).”Giancarlo Daniele
“Lightspeed is awesome. Three uninterrupted months to work on your dream project, lots of tactical advice and eye-opening insights to become a better founder and leader. And John, who had our backs and gave us critical advice when we needed it most. I highly recommend Lightspeed.”Feross Aboukhadijeh
“Being able to speak individually and have private discussions with our mentor, John are incredible valuable. He teaches us how to approach entrepreneurship ideas.”Eli Hart
No Obligation, No Equity
“Lightspeed is in the business of fostering entrepreneurship. We launched the Summer Fellows program in 2006 to provide students the platform they need to dedicate 100% of their time to their startup ideas. We don’t ask for equity or a right to invest; this isn’t an incubator or a formal seed program. Instead, for us it’s a privilege simply to work with such bright, energetic people at this stage in their careers. The whole team at Lightspeed is involved, we’re always tinkering to improve the format, and we look forward to expanding the program and building more relationships in years to come.”John Vrionis Partner - Lightspeed Venture Partners
The Post-doc of Summer Startup Grants
As current venture capitalists, we enjoy collaborating with young entrepreneurs and guiding them to success. That’s why we created the Summer Fellowship Program, now in its eighth year: to mentor talented students like yourself and give you an opportunity to pursue your venture full-time.
Our goal is to give you the best possible chance for success: that includes office space, financial resources, connections, and guidance from experienced professionals. What you do with the opportunity is up to you. Our only requirement is that you dedicate 10 weeks of your summer to working at our office full-time.
So you don’t have to worry about making ends meet or finding a place to work, each team receives $5,000, and each individual fellow receives $10,000 to cover living and business expenses, and all teams are given space in our Lightspeed office complex in Menlo Park, CA.
The Lightspeed family is here to help you succeed. Each team of 1 to 4 fellows is matched with 1 or 2 Lightspeed partners according to their interests. Of course, you should feel free to ask our other investment professionals for advice and guidance on whatever you may need.
Weekly speakers and angel investors are brought in to share their insights and offer further advice about the start-up experience. Many of these speakers have become advisors to teams. In addition, we’re always happy to put you in touch with anyone else who can help.
Networking at Lightspeed
Innovation is all about networking and collaboration, and at its core the Lightspeed Summer Fellowship fosters collaboration. We strive to create an environment in which you can network with the right people to collaborate as effectively as possible. The idea is to provide the connections, guidance and support you need so that you can transition into a professional entrepreneur.
Your team will be paired with 1 or 2 Lightspeed partners who work in your field. Your mentor will meet regularly with you and work as closely with you as the team and project require. The other partners at Lightspeed are also available for additional advice and guidance. Lightspeed professionals are happy to put you in touch with the lawyers, entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and investors they know can help your business grow.
We have ensured that the office space fosters collaboration among the fellows, too. Set up with office equipment, scenic views, common areas, a fully-stocked kitchen, and even a shower, the space receives lavish praise from fellows. We regularly schedule events so that fellows and Lightspeed partners can spend time together outside the office, as well.
Connecting You to the Valley
If you have questions about specific steps in the start-up process, you’ll find our (optional) series of lunch-time seminars particularly helpful. Each week portfolio company executives and functional experts—including attorneys, CFO’s, PR specialists, recruiters, and angel invetors—come to the office to talk about what they do. These talks are designed to mirror the steps in the start-up process so that you make the right connections at the right time. Many of these speakers have gone on to become advisors to teams.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What does Lightspeed get out of this?
Lightspeed gets the opportunity to work closely with outstanding young entrepreneurs. Just as universities and government agencies fund top-notch research, we have the facilities and especially the desire to support entrepreneurship and innovation. The opportunity to mentor and collaborate with students is all the incentive we need. We receive no equity, and teams are under no obligation to Lightspeed.
- Must an engineer (CS or EE) be on the team? Does the engineer have to be a student?
Yes and Yes. Eligible teams must have at least one engineer who was a full-time student in the 2013-2014 academic year. Teams submitting energy-related business ideas may substitute with someone who has the relevant science background.
- Define ‘student’.
The student team member must have been a full-time student at some point in the 2013-2014 academic year. People who graduated at any time in the 2013-2014 academic year ARE eligible.
- Are non-students eligible to receive a fellowship?
Yes. Team members who do NOT have other full-time jobs/commitments are eligible to receive a fellowship, provided they work full-time out of the office space provided.
- What about international businesses?
Yes. Lightspeed has offices in China, India and Israel. We are interested in businesses focusing on international markets. But just to be clear, those team members who win a fellowship must spend 10 weeks working out of the Menlo Park office between June 1 and September 30.
- What about non-technical businesses?
Yes. We are open to all business ideas. That said, because we want to be able to add value to fellows, we prefer businesses in the areas where we have experience: primarily IT and energy-related fields. We do not invest in healthcare or medical technology.
- Are there any particular areas of interest that you are looking for?
We are excited about all great technology related business ideas, but there are always special areas that we are working on in any given year. This year we are focused on the following general themes: Cloud Computing, Big Data, Mobile Applications, Social Applications, Sharing Economy, The Internet of Things, and Online Education. We specifically are NOT interested in anything Healthcare or Medically related.
- Do all team members have to work full-time? Can we start earlier than June 1st? Can we finish later than Sept 30th?
All fellows must work 10 weeks full-time between June 1st and September 30; additional team members not receiving fellowships have no such requirement. We are looking for dedicated entrepreneurs who want to devote the summer to working on their idea; we do not want fellows who want to participate in the program AND another internship. As long as fellows work 10 weeks full-time during the summer timeline, they are welcome to start a few weeks early or stay into October.
- Can I submit more than one (1) application?
- Is a team penalized in any way if it has multiple members?
No. We are looking to work with the highest quality individuals. Teams with multiple members eligible for fellowships are just as interesting (and can actually be more so) as teams with one member.
- Do I have to fill out the Lightspeed application or can I submit alternative materials?
To be eligible to receive the fellowship, the Lightspeed application must be completed.
- If my team goes on to raise a round of funding, will Lightspeed participate?
The LAST thing Lightspeed wants to do is create friction for any entrepreneurs who want to continue to pursue their company after the program. Lightspeed will invest a minimum of $50k in any Summer Fellowship team that continues on with a company and is able to pull together a round of at least $500k from other investors. It’s very important to understand that the Lightspeed investment is completely at the entrepreneur’s option. If you don’t want it, don’t take it. But this way, if any investor ever asks, “Is Lightspeed investing?” the answer is “Yes, if we want them to.”
Also check out our blogpost: The Lightspeed Summer Fellowship Program Explained
Eligibility: Teams of 1 to 4 people may submit proposals as a team. Each team must include at least one student (graduate or undergraduate in Engineering or Computer Science) who was a full-time student in the 2013-2014 academic year. Not all team members must work in the Menlo Park Office full-time for 10-12 weeks during the summer; however, only those members working full-time will be eligible for the fellowship.
In 2013 we received over 250 applications from teams comprised of students representing almost 200 universities. We accepted 10 teams and hope to increase the number of accepted teams this year.
Current Areas of Interest: We are excited about all great technology related business ideas, but there are always special areas that we are working on in any given year. This year we are focused on the following general themes:
- Cloud Computing
- Big Data
- Mobile Applications
- Social Applications
- Sharing Economy
- The Internet of Things
- Online Education
We are now accepting applications for our 2014 class!Preview application
Applications will be reviewed in two rounds: Round 1 applications are due January 31, 2014 and accepted fellows will be notified by February 21, 2014. Round 2 applications are due March 16, 2014 and accepted fellows will be notified by April 11, 2014. Up to 40 individual fellowships will be awarded. Fellows are under no obligation to Lightspeed, and Lightspeed receives no equity as part of the program.
$10,000 / individual + $5,000 / team
NO EQUITY, NO OBLIGATION
Close mentoring by 1-2 Lightspeed partners + office space on Sand Hill Rd
Free cloud services:
Amazon web services, Rackspace Hosting & Windows Azure
February 21, 2014
April 11, 2014